Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (sprained MCL) ready to practice

ByJeremy Fowler ESPN logo
Wednesday, October 14, 2015

PITTSBURGH -- Talk about a hustle play.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is ready to participate in practice 17 days after suffering a sprained left MCL and bone bruise, widely believed to be a four- to six-week injury.

Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning from the Steelers' locker room he planned to participate in 7-on-7 work, which would be about 12 to 15 plays max, no contact. He still has hurdles to clear, such as regaining lateral movements, to be fully cleared.

The Steelers are not expecting Roethlisberger to start, however, as they prepare on a short week to playArizona, league sources told ESPN's Ed Werder.

The Steelers will be cautious with Roethlisberger in deciding when he should return, a source told Werder, factoring in his ability to move and protect himself. That assessment is likely to occur toward the end of each week until he returns.

"Just being smart, knowing when I'm able to protect myself, I'll be back out there," Roethlisberger said before undergoing treatment and workouts for the day. "I can walk around just fine and step and throw. It's being able to avoid a pass rush, being able to make subtle movements in the pocket and out of the pocket."

Roethlisberger has a habit of wanting to play as soon as possible. When asked a few days after the injury when he wants to return, he deadpanned, "Yeah, Thursday." But he cautioned this is a one-day-at-a-time process. Coach Mike Tomlin and team doctors will heavily influence a timetable for return.

"That's why I'm going to go work out now and then we'll do some stuff in practice," Roethlisberger said. "I'm of the same approach that [Tomlin] is, one day at a time. It's hard to speculate until we do something today. Once we do something today, we'll know more."

Roethlisberger ditched the crutches after a few days and started jogging last week. He's been informed by team doctors he'll likely have to play with a knee brace.

Roethlisberger has watched from the sideline as the Steelers have gone 1-1 withMike Vickat quarterback. Vick is expected to start again this week. Vick orchestrated a 12-play, 80-yard drive in the final minutes to beat the Chargers 24-20 on Monday night, but he's averaged 163.5 passing yards per game the past two weeks, compared to 330-plus under Roethlisberger.

In other Steelers news, wide receiver Martavis Bryant said he's feeling healthy and plans to fully participate in practices this week. Bryant missed four games for suspension and the team had not activated him.

"I'm ready to go," Bryant said. "We'll have a great week of practice and we'll see what happens on Sunday."

Information from ESPN's Ed Werder was used in this report.

Related Video